Bridgewater: Large solar energy field planned

Will photovoltaic arrays stand where dairy cows grazed? Bridgewater’s Energy Committee reviewed plans for a 43-acre solar panel array on property near the Taunton River Thursday night. The former dairy farm has a gentle southeasterly slope, perfect for solar energy arrays.

“It’s the former Cumberland Farms land,” Energy Committee Chairman Carlton Hunt said. “It has lots of land that can be put to this use. They’ve gone before the planning board, so the next step is to go through this process of approvals and then, with a little luck, we should see a solar field beginning to be developed in 2013.”

Enfinity Solar New England has an agreement to purchase the property. It also has an agreement to sell the electricity to nearby Bridgewater State University. After two years in the permitting process, Enfinity hopes to begin work next spring.

The Planning Board has approved subdividing the original 200-acres into four parcels, one for further subdivision into residential lots, and at least one for solar energy development. The proposal goes next to the planning board for final site plan review Monday night.

The commercial project would provide revenue for the town.

The only objection heard regarding the project? Reflected light into nearby residential neighborhoods. Committee members discussed the impossibility of that: the collectors would face southeast, away from residential land, they stand at an angle such that any light reflected would angle to a height of 3,000 feet, and their black surfaces collect, rather than reflect, light.

About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson is a reporter at WATD.